Phillip Frankland Lee is a product of Encino. The chef (remember his appearances on “Top Chef”?) grew up in the Valley neighborhood, was a counselor at a local summer camp for children, and began his culinary career as a dishwasher there. So it seems only obvious for his Scratch Restaurants Group to have built a home base of sorts at Encino Place, a shopping plaza on Ventura Boulevard.
And on the final day of last year, Lee’s mini empire grew when his group opened Sushi by Scratch Restaurants: Los Angeles at Encino Place, shortly after retaining Michelin stars at Pasta Bar in Los Angeles and Sushi by Scratch Restaurants: Montecito.
“We’ve been in the plaza for eight years, and when the space became available we took it,” Lee, whose dining concepts — Sushi Bar, Pasta Bar, and Scratch Bar — were born at Encino Place, told the Business Journal from Chicago, where he is in the process of opening another restaurant. “A sushi place was already in business there, so it was ideal, but it had been around since the 1990s, so we added a new sushi counter and modernized things.”
Guests at the new Encino restaurant will eat seated at a sushi counter that accommodates only 10 diners at a time. They’ll be served a 17-course tasting menu by the three chefs creating their meal, which will feature some of Lee’s signature dishes, including hamachi bedecked with sweet corn pudding and sourdough breadcrumbs from loaves made by Lee’s business partner and wife, Margarita Kallas-Lee; aged bluefin tuna served with homemade soy sauce and wasabi; and albacore wrapped in nori.
“We pride ourselves on providing a fully immersive, deeply personalized experience at our restaurants, and are looking forward to continuing that with our new Sushi by Scratch Restaurants location in Los Angeles,” the restaurant group said in a release. “With the reimagined concept, guests will continue to experience our ‘from scratch’ approach to cooking and hospitality that lives in the heart of what we do, with every ingredient made in-house, from our matcha green tea salt and soy sauce to the sushi vinegar and yuzu kosho.”
Diners will pay $165 a person for the tasting menu at Lee’s new sushi palace. The restaurant group’s Sushi Bar, located upstairs from Sushi by Scratch, is transitioning to a private dining space.